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Beyond the veil: What mask requirements are in place in Florida?

Cities and counties have put a variety of mandates in place.

Health care leaders, since the initial days of COVID-19, discouraged hoarding precious personal protective equipment. But cloth face coverings have become more than the fashion accessory in the pandemic era, with health care professionals strongly encouraging use. An increasing number of Florida jurisdictions now require masks in public and at designated businesses.

Gov. Ron DeSantis said he has no plans to issue a statewide mask requirement at this time, but also won’t preempt local regulations. Here’s Florida Politics’ roundup of regulations in the Sunshine State. Most orders last through the duration of the state of emergency.

COUNTIES

Alachua County

While a mask requirement has been on the books for some time, county officials announced it would enforce it with fines beginning on June 25, reports WCJB. Code enforcement plans to go to businesses with high levels of complaints and offer a warning and free mask, but then individuals who refuse to comply will be fined $125 on a first offense, $250 on a second, and $500 and a court appearance on the third offense. The most recent order also includes requirements on signage in businesses where masks are mandatory.

Brevard County

Since government offices reopened to the public on May 18, reservations were required, and the use of face masks encouraged, Florida Today reports.

Broward County

The county issued an emergency order April 10 saying individuals must wear face coverings when visiting essential businesses, in cases where those businesses involve direct interaction between workers and the public, NBC 6 South Florida reports.

Charlotte County

County Commissioners on July 28 voted to direct all residents to wear masks in public places throughout the unincorporated county where social distancing is not possible, Fox 4 reports. The resolution came weeks after the county shot down a prior mask mandate.

Collier County

Weeks after declining to put a mask ordinance in place, County Commissioners on July 21 approved a mask ordinance effective through Sept. 3,  ABC-7 reports. The order was later extended through Oct. 22, reports the Naples Daily News. The directive leaves it up to cities whether to opt-in.

Duval County

Officials issued a mask order beginning at 5 p.m. on June 29. The requirement applies to public and indoor spaces, reports News4Jax. Duval County officials made clear the order applied throughout, including in the beachfront municipalities.

Gadsden County

County Commissioners put in place an order in May for everyone there to wear face masks while in public. That was briefly rescinded on May 15, WTXL reports but was reinstated again May 22. The challenge has now survived a court challenge, in which a judge said the order was constitutional and that suits continued to be filed by Rep. Anthony Sabatini are bordering on “frivolous.”

Hillsborough County

An executive order, approved on June 22 by the Hillsborough County Emergency Policy Group, requires facial coverings for employees and patrons at all businesses dealing with the public and where social distancing cannot be maintained. The order was extended but also significantly changed on July 6, shifting penalties for noncompliance away from business license holders and onto individual members of the public, reports Fox 13. The order has since been extended and is ongoing.

Indian River County

County Commissioners on July 14 ended a requirement for masks for workers and rejected a requirement for the public, TC Palm reports. An emergency order previously went into effect on June 26, requiring employees at businesses open to the public to wear masks. The requirement also applied to anyone visiting county facilities where social distancing is not possible, including libraries, or anyone using public transit. But a requirement remains in place for masks in public buildings, public transit and on employees of businesses serving the public, and that was just extended until Nov. 22, TC Palm reports.

Leon County

County Commissioners voted unanimously to put a mask requirement in place beginning June 25, the Tallahassee Democrat reports. Chairman Bryan Desloge said he would review the order and local COVID-19 cases weekly to determine when to lift the local order.

Manatee County

After initially voting a mask requirement down, County Commissioners on July 27 approved an ordinance to require face coverings worn inside private businesses, the Bradenton Herald reports. The countywide rule does not apply to children under age 6 or with certain medical conditions.

Martin County

County Commissioners approved a requirement June 19 for employees at businesses open to the public, including groceries, restaurants and retail establishments, to wear face coverings. The order expired on Aug. 10, CBS 12 News reports, and commissioners instead backed strong recommendations to wear masks in public. But on Aug. 25, commissioners instituted a new mandate that will last until a state of emergency for COVID-19 is lifted, WPTV West Palm Beach reports.

Miami-Dade County

Mayor Carlos Giménez announced an expanded mask order on July 1 to apply to all public indoor and outdoor spaces throughout the county. Still the epicenter for COVID-19 cases in Florida, this extends an emergency order already requiring employees and visitors to wear face coverings at grocery stores, restaurants, pharmacies, construction sites, on public transit, in vehicles for hire, and at any business where social distancing is impossible. The local order discourages the use of N95 masks because they are still in critical supply there. The requirement does not apply to children age two and younger or those with chronic preexisting breathing problems.

Monroe County

The Florida Keys now have a face mask rule with a $500 civil fine attached. County Commissioners voted May 17 to mandate masks at all businesses for employees and customers, the Orlando Sentinel reported. A requirement has been in place for employees since June 1. Cities may opt-out of the ordinance.

Nassau County

A mask mandate in the county ends Sept.24 at noon, reports Action News Jax. County Commissioners voted to institute a mask mandate for all indoor public places. The requirement went into effect July 3. The rule applied for those over age 6 in areas where social distancing was not possible. The order was extended until Sept.25, but commissioners considering another extension decided to sunset the requirement instead.

Orange County

Mayor Jerry Demings signed an executive order requiring all people in public places to wear masks beginning June 20. If people are in restaurants and eating or drinking, they can take their masks off. But employees and people socializing should wear them, Demings said. People jogging or otherwise exercising away from other people also would be excluded. He encouraged businesses to prohibit entry to patrons who do not have masks.

Osceola County

Sheriff Russ Gibson announced that as of April 13, anyone venturing outside in the jurisdiction must wear face coverings, News 6 reports. The use of N95 masks was discouraged. The rule doesn’t apply to those aged 2 and under, those with certain preexisting health conditions, anyone exercising or those in jobs where face-to-face interactions are not required.

Palm Beach County

County Commissioners voted unanimously to mandate masks in public, The Palm Beach Post reports. Requirements will mimic those in Miami-Dade County. The requirement is in place for ride-shares and at any business currently allowed to operate in the county. A judge upheld the legality of the mask in court on July 27, NBC 6 South Florida reports. The order has been extended until October 21.

Pasco County

An order has been issued requiring masks worn while indoors at public businesses and government facilities, reports Bay News 9. The Commission has discussed potentially lifting the rule but on Sept. 21 declined to vote on any change in policy based on increasing cases in the region.

Pinellas County

County Commissioners approved an ordinance requiring masks or face shields in public spaces. Minors under the age of 18 will be required to wear a face mask at the discretion of their parents. The ordinance took effect on June 24.

Sarasota County

The School Board is requiring masks in all county schools through at least November, and is considering extending that through the school year, the Sarasota Herald-Tribune reports.

St. Johns County

County officials on July 27 ordered masks worn inside county facilities, except for children under age 2. The order doesn’t apply in places where social distancing is possible.

St. Lucie County

County Commissioners on July 1 put a requirement for face coverings for employees of restaurants, grocery stores, food service, salons, gyms, and other retail establishments and businesses open to the public, reports TC Palm. Fines range from $25 for a first offense to $150 for a third. On July 13, commissioners expanded the ordinance to cover the general public as well in all indoor public settings and outdoor places where social distancing is impossible, WPTV reports.

Seminole County

A county order went into effect July 1 requires those living, working, and visiting the county to wear a face-covering at all businesses, places of assembly, and places open to the public, WESH 2 reports.

Walton County

The county administrator’s office announced that at several county-owned indoor offices and facilities, both employees and visitors are required to wear masks, the Northwest Florida Daily News reports.

CITIES

Anna Maria

Mayor Dan Murphy ordered face coverings indoors except in private homes. The rule went into effect on June 27. It doesn’t apply to those at businesses where they don’t encounter other people. Masks must be worn in restaurants except when eating or drinking. Violations as of July 10 are subject to a $50 fine. The requirement is being revisited weekly by city officials and was most recently extended for seven days as of Sept.17.

Apalachicola

Beginning July 2, masks must be worn inside buildings and establishments within city limits, WTXL reports. The order exempts religious services and seated eating; it doesn’t apply to employees working in enclosed areas away from others.

Aventura

The city ordered face coverings in public April 8. On July 2, an expanded order went into effect, allowing for fines and imprisonment for those in violation.

Biscayne Park

The village on July 22 issued an order requiring masks worn when in public. It does not apply in churches, hotel rooms, or cars, and it exempts children under the age of 2 and those with certain medical conditions.

Bradenton

The Bradenton City Council voted unanimously for an emergency mask ordinance, reports WFLA. The requirement goes into effect on July 17.

Boca Raton

The South Florida city issued a face mask order on April 9, encouraging face coverings for all visitors, residents and workers in the city. N95 masks are discouraged.

Boynton Beach

Employees at grocery stores, pharmacies and restaurants and those providing delivery services must wear masks in the city limits, according to an order issued on April 4. The public is also urged to wear masks, but not required.

Cocoa Beach

City Commissioners on July 7 approved an ordinance requiring masks at indoor public spaces, according to Florida Today.

Cooper City

As of April 10, a face-covering requirement is in place for individuals in public. Residents are strongly encouraged to use face masks in outdoor settings like public parks as well. 

Coral Springs

City leaders ordered face masks in public and while in employee areas of businesses.

Cutler Bay

An emergency order issued June 26 mandates face coverings indoors and outdoors in Miami-Dade in all facilities and businesses that have been authorized to reopen. Exceptions apply for some professions where workers are primarily outdoors or who cannot work with masks, individuals communicating with the hearing impaired, and those under the age of 2.

Dania Beach

Face-coverings are required for all employees and customers at grocery stores, hardware stores, pharmacies and restaurants. Those at all other open and essential businesses are encouraged to use face masks in public.

Davie

The city still has requirements for face coverings and social distancing in place, the Miami Herald reports.

Daytona Beach

An emergency measure approved June 18 requires all individuals over the age of 2 who enter City Hall and other city buildings to wear face coverings. The program doesn’t apply to children involved in youth programs, where social distancing in enforced.

Deerfield Beach

The city has a face mask covering requirements in place in addition to an ongoing stay-at-home order.

DeLand

The city approved an ordinance in effect as of July 3 requiring face coverings for all individuals while inside businesses. The rule carries a $25 fine on first offense that goes up to $100 on the third offense, with injunctions possible for continued offenders.

Delray Beach

The city passed a resolution affirming a Palm Beach County mask requirement will be enforced in the city limits.

Doral

Mayor J.C. Bermudez put a face mask requirement in place as of April 10.

Fernandina Beach

The North Florida municipality, as of July 15, requires all citizens older than age 2 to wear a face-covering in any public indoor spaces. The city previously issued a resolution on July 2 requiring face masks for employees and patrons of businesses open to the public, allowing violation of the rule to be punished as a second-degree misdemeanor.

Flagler Beach

The municipality on July 9 passed a resolution requiring anyone outside their home to wear a mask except when engaged in strenuous exercise, according to News 6. Infractions do not carry any fine.

Florida City

The city never put a local lockdown in place, but an emergency order on April 9 was issued requiring face masks in public.

Fort Lauderdale

The South Florida city-issued emergency orders April 10, requiring all those within the interior areas of businesses and services to wear some form of face-covering shielding their nose and mouth. All others working or visiting in Fort Lauderdale are encouraged to use masks at all times.

Fort Myers Beach

The city issued an emergency declaration that went into effect on July 1, WINK News reports. Masks are required at indoor businesses, but not at parks and outdoor locales. Children under 6 and law enforcement are exempt. Those in violation can be fined $50.

Golden Beach

The city issued its own face mask order on April 10.

Gulf Breeze

The city issued a declaration on June 27 that customers and staff at businesses must wear masks, the Pensacola News Journal reports.

Hialeah

City leaders committed to participating in a face mask requirement policy similar to Miami, the Miami Herald reports.

Hialeah Gardens

Mayor Yioset De La Cruz issued a face mask order on April 8 for all businesses open in the city, and all workers making deliveries there. Workers at retailers and commercial establishments must wear gloves if available.

Hollywood

The city issued a facial covering order on April 8 in public places, including grocery stores, hardware stores, pharmacies, restaurants, or other essential businesses. The order may be enforced with arrests or fines. On June 25, the city expanded the order to include common areas of all buildings.

Holmes Beach

The Manatee County municipality adopted an emergency ordinance requiring masks in businesses, according to the Sarasota Herald-Tribune. The requirement has been extended until at least June 12, The Islander reports.

Homestead

The city issued rules for face masks for visitors, workers and the public. Residents have also been urged to wear masks in public.

Indian Harbour Beach

An emergency order on July 15 requires masks inside businesses and requires companies to post notices on the requirement, News 6 reports

Indiatlantic

The town issued an executive order requiring face masks for all employees and visitors to town-owned indoor facilities. All businesses in town that are open to customers are also required to post a sign making clear their face mask policies. Any businesses deemed essential must require masks for visitors and employees. Requirements don’t apply to those under age 6. The order was recently extended

Jacksonville

Jacksonville officials issued a mask order on June 29. The requirement applies to public and indoor spaces, reports News4Jax.

Key Biscayne

The South Florida city now requires face coverings in all essential businesses. An order was expanded on June 26 to cover anytime individuals leave their own homes.

Key West

City commissioners loosened requirements on wearing masks outdoors and in gyms, and no longer requires face coverings if social distancing can be maintained, the Miami Herald reports. The city on July 13 had expanded an order to require everyone over age 6 to wear masks any time they are outside of their own home. Those who violate the rule may face jail time on a misdemeanor charge, a penalty that remains in place. Anyone in businesses essential or nonessential must wear face coverings in the city, per a local emergency order. Businesses opening on or after May 4 must follow sanitation guidelines and train employees on CDC recommendations for working during the pandemic.

Leesburg

The Lake County city approved an ordinance July 27 requiring masks to be worn in any public place, the Daily Commercial reports. The rule does not apply outdoors or for children under the age of 2.

Lakeland

After initially punting on the issue, Lakeland city commissioners voted to institute a mask mandate in certain indoor places where social distancing cannot be maintained, ABC Action News reports. Anyone under 8 is exempt, as are any youth engaged in sports. The city can fine $250 for those in violation. The order has since been extended and remains in effect.

Mary Esther

Commissioners approved an ordinance that takes place July 31, the Northwest Florida Daily News. It applies inside business establishments and includes fines.

Medley

The town requires face coverings for all individuals outside their homes, excluding children age two and younger, those who have trouble breathing, individuals engaged in strenuous exercise, and certain government workers prohibited from wearing masks.

Melbourne

City Manager Shannon Lewis on July 13, announced all city employees must wear provided surgical masks or their face coverings on the job for the duration of the statewide state of emergency for COVID-19.

Melbourne Beach

An emergency order issued on July 15 requires masks in all essential businesses. It doesn’t apply to those under age 6 or in settings where social distancing can take place. Another order requiring masks in indoor town facilities was issued the same day.

Miami

Mayor Francis Suarez on June 22 announced a new “mask in public” rule within the city, according to the Miami Herald. He made clear that while enforcement will be a challenge, it will be a requirement officials expect to be followed. On June 25, an order was issued that laid out exceptions and made clear it applied in all public settings.

Miami Lakes

The city has a nose and face-covering rule in place in restaurants, grocery stores, pharmacies, and gas stations.

Miami Springs

An order issued June 26 effective immediately requires masks at all open establishments, centers, and meeting places within the city, including in parking lots.

Milton

Mayor Heather Lindsay ordered employees and customers at businesses to wear masks beginning June 28, reports the Pensacola News Journal. However, the City Council quickly rescinded the order.

Miramar

Face covering requirements are in place.

New Smyrna Beach

City Commissioners voted 3-2 to start requiring residents and visitors to wear masks in public, News 6 reports. But no enforcement mechanism was put into place there.

North Miami

The city, as of April 9, required employees and customers to wear face coverings at grocery stores, pharmacies, hardware stores and restaurants. The use of masks is strongly encouraged at other businesses as well.

Oakland Park

Since April 7, the city has kept a face-covering requirement in place.

Ocala

The City Council passed an ordinance requiring businesses, churches, and government offices to enforce a mask mandate for workers and to post signs encouraging mask use by the public, WMFE 90.7 reports.

Orange City

The city on July 6 instituted a mask requirement with a $25 fine on first offense that raises to $100 by third offense, reports WFTV.

Palatka

Mayor Terrill Hill implemented a mask-wearing requirement in the city, according to First Coast News.

Palm Coast

The City Council on July 7 approved a resolution requiring masks in any indoor location outside their home and any outdoor public gathering space.

Palmetto Bay

An emergency order issued April 9 mandates face coverings at all times inside restaurants, grocery stores and pharmacies. Workers doing any type of delivery service must also wear masks while making deliveries.

Panama City Beach

The city on July 15 required all employees at public businesses to wear face masks, reports MyPanhandle.com.

Pensacola

Mayor Grover Robinson issued an emergency order, in effect as of 5 p.m. June 26, requiring face coverings for anyone inside a business within city limits, the Pensacola News-Journal reports. The order excludes those under age 6, anyone exercising, and all places of worship. The City Council later added the threat of $50 fines for first offenses, ultimately going up to $500 and 60 days in jail. Robinson has now said the city should lift the order, but that will take an action by the City Council.

Perry

The City Council approved a mask requirement in public places, but on July 17 passed exemptions for locations, including churches and schools, WFSU reports.

Plantation

Mayor Lynne Stoner, on April 8, signed a requirement for cloth masks anytime any individual living, working, or visiting the city is in a public place. The use of medical-grade surgical masks is discouraged.

Pompano Beach

Mayor Rex Hardin issued an emergency proclamation on April 8, encouraging people to wear cloth masks or face coverings whenever outside of their own homes.

Punta Gorda

The City Council on July 8 passed a mask mandate for all indoor places, NBC-2 reports. Some standard exemptions for children under 2 and others apply.

St. Augustine

City commissioners adopted a requirement for face coverings at indoor locations besides their homes and when unable to maintain social distance. The requirement went into effect at noon on June 26, The Florida Times-Union reports. Those violating the rule may be fined up to $500. Rep. Anthony Sabatini, who has been filing lawsuits against mask orders across the state, is challenging the order.

St. Petersburg

Mayor Rick Kriseman announced a city mandate that employees wear face masks in all businesses in the city beginning June 19. Violations could result in sanctions. He soon after signed an order on June 22, expanding the mask requirement to visiting public places of assembly within the city, The Catalyst reports. As far as businesses, patrons who notice employees not wearing masks are asked to email the city at action@stpete.org. Complaints will be forwarded to the appropriate departments for enforcement.

Sanibel

Beginning July 3, Sanibel will require masks at any public building, government facility, library, and restaurant (only before sitting down to eat), reports NBC-2. The requirement doesn’t apply at the beach, golf course, or outdoor settings when social distancing is possible, and it does not apply to places of worship. The city has since raised the age limit of those exempt from wearing a mask to 6 years old.

Sarasota

City Commissioners on June 29 put in place a mask mandate whenever individuals are indoors, as well as when outdoors when social distancing is not possible, the Sarasota Herald-Tribune reports. Businesses and owners could face a fine of $500 if found in violation.

Satellite Beach

The City Council on July expanded an emergency ordinance to now require face coverings at all indoor public locations throughout the city, and at outdoor and business locations where social distancing is not possible. Exceptions are provided, including for children under age 2. Previously, the city on July 6 approved an ordinance requiring customers at grocery stores and gas stations to wear masks, Florida Today reports. The municipality earlier issued guidelines including requirements for staff wearing face masks and gloves, and other issues related to reopening as of May 4.

Surfside 

Effective April 10, the town required facial coverings for employees at essential businesses, as well as for contractors, tradespeople, appliance repair personnel, exterminators, and other workers serving the public.

Tamarac

The city issued an emergency order on April 8, asking all residents and visitors to use face cloth coverings while utilizing essential services, especially in areas with high numbers of customers like grocery stores, hardware stores and pharmacies.

Tampa 

Mayor Jane Castor announced a mandatory mask order, reports the Tampa Bay Times. The order took effect on June 19. It applies to all indoor locations outside individuals’ homes, and anywhere individuals in public cannot maintain six-foot social distancing. Children under 2 are exempt. The city will provide free masks to anyone who needs them, while supplies last.

West Melbourne

The city on July 16 adopted an ordinance requiring individuals in essential businesses to wear masks, and to enforce masks in any business noticing customers of a policy requiring masks. Children under 6 and those with certain medical conditions are exempt. Fines start at $100.

Wilton Manors

City Manager Leigh Ann Henderson signed an order requiring all employees and customers of grocery stores, pharmacies, liquor stores, and restaurants to wear face coverings.

Winter Haven

City Commissioners on July 13 approved a mask ordinance requiring face coverings in any indoor environment besides their home, The Ledger reports. Violations can result in $150 fines.

Venice

The Venice City Council on Aug. 25 approved an ordinance requiring masks to be worn in all public spaces where social distancing cannot be enforced, the Sarasota Herald-Tribune reports. The mask includes exemptions for those with medical conditions preventing mask use, and police say the rule will not likely be enforced in outdoor settings.

REJECTED

The following jurisdictions voted down mandates: Indian River County, Okaloosa County, Walton County, Okaloosa County Schools, Bonita Springs, Cape CoralFort Myers, Green Cove Springs, Pierson

ANTI-MASK REQUIREMENT

Marion County

Sheriff Billy Woods took the extraordinary step of banning the use of masks by all Sheriff’s Department employees, according to the Ocala StarBanner. Some exceptions will exist for those working in the county jail, courts or schools. Visitors to lobbies for Sheriff’s Office facilities will also be told to remove their masks.

Written By

Jacob Ogles has covered politics in Florida since 2000 for regional outlets including SRQ Magazine in Sarasota, The News-Press in Fort Myers and The Daily Commercial in Leesburg. His work has appeared nationally in The Advocate, Wired and other publications. Events like SRQ’s Where The Votes Are workshops made Ogles one of Southwest Florida’s most respected political analysts, and outlets like WWSB ABC 7 and WSRQ Sarasota have featured his insights. He can be reached at jacobogles@hotmail.com.

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